Jonah Gershon ‘24, a hotel administration major in the Nolan School of Hotel Administration at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business and the founder of Spekld, is the lone student finalist among the 10 selected for the inaugural Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Competition.
While making chocolate chip cookies last summer, Gershon realized that he always uses brown butter in his recipes, but that “it’s an extra step that takes 20 or 25 minutes”. This led to the creation of Spekld, a form of brown butter that could be purchased in a stick, similar to traditional butter. Gershon is not new to the food industry and started sharing his cookie baking skills on Instagram, which led him to participate in Food Network’s Christmas Cookie Challenge in 2022. With Spekld, Gershon aims to educate more people about brown butter and help home cooks who want to try new food products.
As a finalist for the competition, Gershon won $20,000 in participant support, as well as business incubation services like product prototyping and optimization and food safety and compliance training. Additionally, Gershon will receive individualized mentorship and guidance from experts in the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Food Science Department and SC Johnson College of Business, including access to Cornell’s Food Processing and Development Lab (FPDL).
Gershon, along with all 10 finalists, will present Spekld to a committee of judges during a pitch competition on Aug. 8 at Cornell for the chance to win an additional $55,000. Up to three winners will be selected and given the opportunity to be featured at the Dairy Innovation Showcase at the 2023 Grow-NY Summit on November 14-15 in Binghamton, N.Y.
Learn more about Jonah Gershon and Spekld.
Featured image of Gershon competing on the Food Network’s 2022 Christmas Cookie Challenge provided by Food Network.